Forces Re-Writing Of GSSE History Books
9 June 2009 -
the XIII Games of the Small States of Europe well and
truly over, and with all those involved trying to cope
with the syndrome of post-Games blues, the GSSE
historians will have to get to work.
2009 provided an astonishing array of breakthroughs--and
not just in the fields play.
courts and tracks, Cyprus completely dominated the GSSE,
setting a number of records that will be impossible to
surpass in the future--especially once Montenegro joins
the GSSE movement and the family grows from eight to
day to spare in the Games, Cyprus broke the record of
most medals ever won by a country. It was Elena
Papazoglou Ioannou's silver in the Laser-Radial Class of
Sailing that came in as the 98th medal for Cyprus in
these Games and consigned to history the record of 97
medals held by Iceland since the 1997 Games.
process of amassing an incredible 139 medals (of which
59 gold, 47 silver and 33 bronze), Cyprus also clinched
its own landmarks: Its 800th medal in the history of the
Games, with shooter Marilena Constatinou's silver in the
Women's Air Rifle, and it's 900th, with the Judo team's
gold in the Men's Team Event.
other athletes also left their mark on these Games and
earned their own golden pages in the history books of
Thirty-six-year-old runner Andri Shialou, who lit the
altar at the Opening Ceremony of the XIII GSSE,
completed a glittering career with gold medals in the
400m and 400m Hurdles. A career that spans over 20 years
and includes the III GSSE of 1989 and the XIII GSSE of
2009--plus all those in-between.
a mother of two, also received the European Fair Play
Movement Individual Award of this year's Games.
the almost total domination of Cyprus, Luxembourg also
provided their own star of the XIII GSSE.
Seventeen-year-old Raphael Stacchiotti was dubbed the
'Michael Phelps' of the GSSE, when he won seven gold
medals at the Limassol Swimming Pool. He would have gone
for eight, but was resigned to a single silver, were it
not for Iceland's Arni Mar Arnason who became the only
man to beat Stacchiotti (in the 50m Freestyle). Yet
another two gold could have come his way had Luxembourg
entered the relay races.
Stacchiotti was the recipient of the World Fair Play
Movement Award at these GSSE.
Men's Volleyball, Panos Eracleous also contributed his
own little bit of GSSE history. Captaining the Cyprus
team to yet another gold, his own personal collection
grew to nine gold medals in as many appearances at the
GSSE. Eracleous, 34, first took part in the GSSE in
1991, but missed out on the 2001 Games because of
Trikomiti of Cyprus also emerged a multimedallist of the
XIII GSSE, with four gold and a silver medal in Rhythmic
Gymnastics. The 19-year-old gymnast's single defeat came
from her 16-year-old sister, Chrystalleni, in the final
of the Ribbon.
But it was not only
Cyprus that set new personal bests at these GSSE. Both
Iceland and Luxembourg got their best ever results in
the history of the GSSE: Although Iceland secured 81
medals and fell short of its performance of 97 from the
1997 Games in Reykjavik, this has been the Nordic
nation’s best yield ever away from home. And
Luxembourg’s 26 gold bettered the Grand Duchy’s previous
best of 24 from the 1997 Games.
the three strongest teams dominating the Games so
thoroughly this year, little was left for the remaining
five countries and all of them fell below par in their
collection of gold medals—although they all did well in
the totals. For Malta, especially, this year’s
collection of just three gold was the lowest since 1995
in Luxembourg. Andorra, which departed Cyprus with a
single gold (by Laura Salle Lopez in the Women’s -64kg
category of Judo) had not fallen so low since 1993 in
fields of play, the Organisers of the XIII GSSE set the
bar very high, measured against past editions, but also
against the III Games of 1989, when the GSSE were last
they came through with a brilliant
performance--considering that the GSSE have grown out of
all proportion: A total of 3,291 accreditations were
issued for the six-day event, including a
record-breaking 843 athletes who took part in 131
disciplines of twelve sports. Compare this to the 222
athletes of the I Games, 24 years ago.
coverage also tested the organisers, who had to provide
for 103 foreign plus numerous local journalists--numbers
never seen before at Games of the Small States of
Europe. At the same time, a huge TV production came
through, with live feed of more than 40 hours and two
daily highlights roundups provided for free to all
participating countries via satellite.
this website, despite any unavoidable (or even
avoidable) shortcomings, provided access to the Games
for all the world, with visitors pouring in from 131
countries from every tiny corner of the world. Games
time, the official website of the XIII GSSE had 112,896
visits (31% from inside Cyprus and 69% from abroad) and
877,888 pageviews with an average time of seven minutes
on the site.
of more than 1300 free of rights action photos of the
twelve sports and of parallel events were distributed
through the website, in addition to 265 news articles in
Greek and 215 in English. Video clips with the
highlights of each day were available nightly online.
Supporting the whole organisational structure were 739
brilliant volunteers in a mobilisation never before seen
such massive numbers to cope with, as CYPRUS 2009 wraps
up, the organisers of the XIV Games of the Small States
of Europe, Liechtenstein 2011, now have two extremely
tough years ahead of them to organise the next edition
of what has rightly been hailed as the 'mini Olympics'.